The restorative properties of New Mexico’s natural hot springs were a best-kept secret by the area’s Native Americans. The Jemez Springs village in the Santa Fe National Forest is one of the “hot” spots for soothing, atmospheric spa sessions. Take the McCauley Hot Springs, where just a short 2-mile hike in Jemez amid mountain meadows, waterfalls and sweeping valley views, leads groups to ancient pools surrounded by stunning rock formations and forest. Flecks of obsidian in the rock reflect the volcanic eruptions that occurred over 5 million years ago. The 102-degree Giggling Springs, expanded from a 1800s bath house, draws from ancient sea water that is trapped beneath the Valles Caldera National Preserve, purportedly making its water extremely mineral-infused. A modern rustic haven, Giggling’s pool has built-in seating, with drink service available—all while listening to the Jemez River babble nearby.
The roughly hour-long drive to Jemez Springs from Albuquerque and Santa Fe on the Jemez Mountain Trail is a marvel in itself, so much so that its geological formations, volcanic fields, ancient Indian ruins and mining heritage landed it on the National Scenic Byway list. Along the way, nearly half a million people stop every year to see the Jemez pueblo, dating back to 1,500 A.D., and the on-site 17th century Spanish Mission, San Jose de los Jemez.
Backed by the Dalai Lama himself, Tibetan monks from India’s Drepung Loseling Monastery journey to the boutique Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa every year to bless its geothermal waters with a chanting ceremony. The resort authenticates Pueblo heritage in various ways—from cliffside suites to private ritual herbal baths and massages using stones taken from the nearby Rio Grande River. The on-site Intention Garden combines yoga with the healing springs. Before a yoga session, instructors hand attendees a seeded card and pen, asking that they write down an intention that will hung on the intention tree and later planted in the spring. The session ends with a cleansing dip in the springs.
In Santa Fe, Ojo’s sister property, Sunrise Springs Integrative Wellness Resort, blends Eastern and Western wellness in an array of curated experiences. On the agenda: everything from horticulture, food as medicine, and body as brush art workshops to nature hikes and animal interactions. Groups have the option of being evaluated by the resort’s integrative wellness team, ultimately leaving with a holistic wellness plan.